Post Mortem Review
Post Mortem: A psychic and
Uncensored/Dr. Ramawatar Sharma
Mario is the weird typist in a Santiago morgue who takes notes of postmortem conducted by the doctor. He is a loner but takes liking for his neighbour Nancy, who is a dancer at a local club of disrepute. He follows Nancy obsessively and finally becomes her lover. But despite his weirdness and obsession for Nancy, he hates casual sexual liaisons as he snubs one of his colleagues for her advances.
In the midst of a major political turmoil in his country Chile, the Communist centric government of Salvador Allende is overthrown by military generals. Nancy's family is supporting Communists and Allende and her house becomes a meeting place for the Leftist comrades. The army uses its subversive tactics and a lot of people get killed. There are more bodies at the morgue. Soldiers get brutal, killing some people even in morgue as they are possibly still alive.
Mario and other members of postmortem team become psychic when they are called upon to conduct autopsy on the body of Salvador Allende in presence of a large number of military officers and were forced to write a false report that Allende died of suicide that probably was not the case. Finally, when Mario comes home, he finds Nancy with another man. He becomes devastated and decides to take revenge.
The film is directed by Pablo Lorrain, a Chilean filmmaker, a master of dark films. This movie disturbs. It is death of a nation, it's people and of love. The photography is not refined but some scenes are unforgettable, especially the last scene that depicts Mario's anger, revenge and despair.
But this is not a movie for everybody. It can be properly understood if you know the history of Chile and you are sensitive to human suffering. This is not an entertaining film but it is a political statement where a few people try to survive in a dead society. But to some people it may be too slow a movie and uninteresting.
Alfredo Castro as Mario looks funny and weird but there are some missed moments when his character could have been more dramatic and lingering. It appears as though director Lorrain wanted this film to be slow and somewhat boring so as to make the audience think about his film later on and analyze it more deeply - to think what actually happened in a small country in one corner of the world.
One surprising omission is the non-depiction of army's brutality outside the mortuary. Much is left to viewer's imagination. It is perhaps an intentionally non engaging film so as to disturb the audience and forcing them in past to enquire what happened in a nation years ago and how common people suffered and reacted to a suddenly repressive regime.
The one important aspect of the movie is the director's ability to make the life of its lead character Mario haunting. Mario tries to make a perfectly normal life with a woman and a home but sudden changes all around him and the helplessness and vulnerability of an individual against a state comes up very compassionately as the movie progresses at its leisurely pace.
It is never easy to make a political movie; make it interesting to global audience and at the same time as an impactful drama. But even after more than two weeks of viewing it, one can still remember its character clearly and this is the real strength of this cinematic creation of Pablo Lorrain!
Production year: 2010. Country: Rest of the world
Cert (UK): 15. Runtime: 98 mins
Directors: Pablo Larrain. Cast: Alfredo Castro, Amparo Noguera, Antonia Zegers, Marcelo Alonso